GHR/PRLR heteromultimer is composed of GHR homodimers and PRLR homodimers

Academic Article


  • GH receptor (GHR) and prolactin (PRL) receptor (PRLR) are homologous transmembrane cytokine receptors. Each prehomodimerizes and ligand binding activates Janus Kinase 2 (JAK2)-signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) signaling pathways by inducing conformational changes within receptor homodimers. In humans, GHR is activated by GH, whereas PRLR is activated by both GH and PRL. We previously devised a split luciferase complementation assay, in which 1 receptor is fused to an N-terminal luciferase (Nluc) fragment, and the other receptor is fused to a C-terminal luciferase (Cluc) fragment. When receptors approximate, luciferase activity (complementation) results. Using this assay, we reported ligand-independent GHR-GHR complementation and GH-induced complementation changes characterized by acute augmentation above basal signal, consistent with induction of conformational changes that bring GHR cytoplasmic tails closer. We also demonstrated association between GHR and PRLR in T47D human breast cancer cells by coimmunoprecipitation, suggesting that, in addition to forming homodimers, these receptors form hetero-assemblages with functional consequences. We now extend these analyses to examine basal and ligand-induced complementation of coexpressed PRLR-Nluc and PRLR-Cluc chimeras and coexpressed GHR-Nluc and PRLR-Cluc chimeras. We find that PRLR-PRLR and GHR-PRLR form specifically interacting ligand-independent assemblages and that either GH or PRL augments PRLR-PRLR complementation, much like the GH-induced changes in GHR-GHR dimers. However, in contrast to the complementation patterns for GHR-GHR or PRLR-PRLR homomers, both GH and PRL caused decline in luciferase activity for GHR-PRLR heteromers. These and other data suggest that GHR and PRLR associate in complexes comprised of GHR-GHR/PRLRPRLR heteromers consisting of GHR homodimers and PRLR homodimers, rather than GHR-PRLR heterodimers.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Liu Y; Zhang Y; Jiang J; Lobie PE; Paulmurugan R; Langenheim JF; Chen WY; Zinn KR; Frank SJ
  • Start Page

  • 504
  • End Page

  • 517
  • Volume

  • 30
  • Issue

  • 5